Monday, December 11, 2017

Deep breaths by Cheryl Harper

Sunday afternoon. I'm at my desk, writing, and the phone rings. In the usual way, my family member says, "Hey, what are you doing?"

"Working. What are you doing?" I answer in the usual way.

We go on to discussing all the upcoming holiday things and the presents that have be found and wrapped and the Christmas dinner I'm having at my house and dishes I will prepare after I buy everything at the grocery store and my new-ish day job challenges which I can tackle but not without expending So. Much. Energy. and why I'm worried about meeting a book deadline a month away and health surprises and...

When it's all over, I think "I should make a list." Another list of things that I need to remember. I want it all because it's all important to me. I can't miss anything. Instead, I go back to my story, realize I'm never going to hit the impossible word count goal I set for myself, see the phrase "deep breath" three times in the last three paragraphs and decide...

Maybe a deep breath is not such a bad idea. That conversation? You recognize every part of it. I know you do, so join me. For five minutes, imagine what you'd do with a free day, where you'd go, and just what would make it perfect. Christmas can wait for five minutes. So can the job and the lists. I can figure out things my characters can do other than take deep breaths (but I will take suggestions, just don't say shrug, laugh, or smile because they do that too much, too). In a minute. It can all wait. One day. What would you do with it? Here's mine:

Okay, so I did make a list after all. It's a good one. I hope this wild, wonderful time of year is full of fun and adventure and family and still, quiet time so that you can enjoy every bit of it. Now...deep breaths. How many times has my heroine sighed? Nope. That doesn't work, either. Maybe a Diet Coke will help.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

SIT DOWN SATURDAY with RULA SINARA

IS IT CHRISTMAS IN JULY…OR JULY AT CHRISTMAS? 

What about both?

Can we talk about the ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM? (For those who’ve read my books…pun totally intended lol.)

You all know about Christmas in July, right? In the Southern Hemisphere, the weather is actually summer-like during Christmas. In the Northern Hemisphere, it’s the opposite. Our classic Christmas scene is full of snow, sleigh rides and hot cocoa by the fireplace. That is, unless we’re celebrating Christmas in July…smack in the middle of summer! Yep, July hits and suddenly we’re having store holiday sales and Hallmark Channel Christmas movie marathons.

(Courtesy Prism Book Tours)
So, when my fellow December Heartwarming release sisters and I got together to set up both a Facebook party and a December blog giveaway to celebrate our releases we were looking at all of our December covers and I had to laugh. Out of the four covers, three (Catherine, Beth and Liz’s) are gorgeous Christmas themed covers for holiday themed stories…and mine is a clearly set during the summer (though I think it’s also gorgeous and romantic, if I might say so myself ;). I remember saying, ‘Mine’s a July at Christmas book!’ LOL!

Seriously. Take a look at our covers. Now first, I want you to sing the famous Sesame Street ‘One of these things is not like the others’ song in your head (Don’t know it? Here’s a link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsRjQDrDnY8):

Amazon
Can you guess which one is my July at Christmas cover?

Ah, but I have a little secret. There’s actually a holiday backstory to EVERY SERENGETI SUNRISE. You see, it’s not the first time readers are meeting the heroine, Maddie Corallis. Everyone got a glimpse of her as a little girl (cousin to little Pippa) in THE PROMISE OF RAIN, which was my debut and first book in my From Kenya, With Love series for Harlequin Heartwarming. But she played a huge role in the second book of the series, AFTER THE SILENCE, which is in fact a (drumroll…) HOLIDAY STORY. And it is was a March 2015 release lol…not quite July, but it wasn’t December ;). 



In AFTER THE SILENCE, Maddie is a ten-year-old girl who suffers from selective mutism after the sudden, tragic loss of her mother in an accident…the very day her father, a marine, returns home from duty. The story is about a widowed marine, Ben Corallis, who is struggling to raise 3 kids in small town America and a young doctor from Nairobi, Hope Alwanga, who has been pushing herself so hard she’s overwhelmed and depleted. She ends up visiting America (because of the two families being connected by friends) and staying with Ben Corallis to help him out with the kids, while she has a chance to take a desperately needed break. Her visit falls during the holiday season but Ben is reluctant to celebrate anything since his wife’s death. It’s Hope’s influence that brings love and joy back to the family…and helps Maddie find her voice again. And of course, Ben and his children help Hope find joy in her life too.


Does following her passion mean losing her way?

Marine Ben Corallis is an expert at facing death, but nothing comes close to the terror that grounds him when his wife is killed in a car accident the day he returns from duty. He's left to raise an infant, a toddler and a ten-year-old girl who hasn't uttered a word since her mother's death.

It's hard not to care for the widowed marine with three young children. Yet he's still grieving, too burdened with guilt to fall in love again. And Hope Alwanga's future as a doctor awaits her on the other side of the world, in Nairobi. If two such opposites can't agree on a common country, how can they ever create a safe place to call home?


Now in, book 3, THROUGH THE STORM, Ben reappears in the story and we see a little bit of Maddie toward the end. They’re not main characters in this one, but it’s a story I love that, like most in the series, includes an anti-poaching/save elephants theme. Fast-forward to EVERY SERENGETI SUNRISE and Maddie is now the heroine! This book is the first of three more in which we see the kids from books 1-3 all grown up. Haki (the hero) and Pippa from THE PROMISE OF RAIN also star in this love triangle story. Sound messy? Is love ever not messy? Don’t worry though. It has a happy ending…at least for two of the characters. As for the 3rd…she’s getting her happy ending too, when THE TWIN TEST, releases in May (and already up for pre-order)!

So, you see, Maddie Corallis got her first major role in a holiday book and is now starring in a book during the holidays ;)! I hope you enjoy my From Kenya, With Love series! All the books can stand alone, but if you’d like to follow the entire family ‘saga’, you can catch up on the first 3 books too. Print copies are not available for long, so if you prefer print, grab your copy of EVERY SERENGETI SUNRISE and the other December books soon! Books in general make wonderful holiday gifts!


Elephants, Africa’s wild savannah and three best friends…

When attorney Maddie Corallis returns to Kenya to fight a humanitarian vs animal rights case, the last thing she expects is for her childhood friend, wildlife veterinarian Haki Odaba, to be the very man she’s up against. Loyal and protective, Haki would never turn his back on the elephants he’s devoted to saving, any more than Maddie could abandon the native tribes she’s come to protect. An impossible battle…but nothing compared to the fight they face when old feelings surface and the soul-deep connection they’ve always shared threatens the worst kind of betrayal...that of their dearest friend Pippa. The one Haki is expected to marry.

Denying their feelings is torture, but giving in is not an option. Not with the suffering it would cause. Besides, Maddie left Kenya once and she’ll be leaving again soon. An ocean, a case and a friend between them. Maybe love can’t always find a way…or can it?

AMAZON  HARLEQUIN  BN  IBOOKS



And don’t forget about the huge holiday giveaway hosted by the December Heartwarming authors! There’s only a week left! Here’s the link to our launch page where you can find out more about the prizes and enter for a chance to win: GIVEAWAY


Happy Holidays! 

Rula Sinara

Friday, December 8, 2017

12 Days of Christmas, Heartwarming Style by Loree Lough and Cerella Sechrist

It won’t surprise you to hear that we got together and, with Christmas right around the corner, started listing our favorite Christmas carols. Naturally, The Twelve Days of Christmas made the list.

What fun would it be, we said, to keep with the theme of 12 and ask a few of our Heartwarming characters what they do to get in the holiday spirit. Here are how 12 of them answered:

1. "Listen to a Celtic Christmas album while wrapping presents." (Rory from A SONG FOR RORY)

2. "Dance to Mel Torme's The Christmas Song with Maleah in my arms." (Ian from THE MAN SHE KNEW)

3. "Volunteer to take photos of families with Santa and watch how excited the kids get when it's their turn to share their wish list." (Burke from THE WAY BACK TO ERIN)

4. "Mixing candy canes in hot chocolate until they're almost melted and then crunching down on the last couple of bites!" (Nate from SWEET MOUNTAIN RANCHER

5. "Visit a nursing home and ask the residents to share their favorite Christmas memories." (Erin from THE WAY BACK TO ERIN)

6. "Kisses under the mistletoe." (Maleah from THE MAN SHE KNEW)

7. "Take an evening to go caroling around the neighborhood and invite people to join the group as you go along." (Sawyer from A SONG FOR RORY)

8. "Building a snowman, of course!" (Eden from SWEET MOUNTAIN RANCHER)

9. "Decorate a tray of Christmas cookies (my dad's secret recipe) with my daughter, Molly." (Connor from HARPER'S WISH)

10. "Warming up the old guitar with a few Christmas carols." (Sam from THE FIREFIGHTER'S REFRAIN)

11. "Spend a couple of hours hanging ornaments on the tree and then settle in with hot cocoa and popcorn to watch It's a Wonderful Life." (Harper from HARPER'S WISH)

12. "Savoring hot cider while stringing popcorn for the tree...and eating the leftovers, too!" (Finn from THE FIREFIGHTER'S REFRAIN)

One thing we are always grateful for during the holiday season are our fantastic readers, and we like to celebrate the season with giveaways! So here's our Christmas gift to one of you: ONE lucky reader will receive TWELVE Harlequin Heartwarming novels from various authors! And as a runner up, a SECOND winner will receive SIX novels from Heartwarming authors! Use the form below to enter.



12 Heartwarming Reads for the Holidays Giveaway



Until we see you again in January, we wish you and yours a happy, healthy Christmas and a bright and prosperous New Year!


ABOUT LOREE: With nearly 7,000,000 books in circulation, best-selling author Loree Lough's titles have earned numerous 4- and 5-star reviews and industry awards. She splits her time between her home in Baltimore and a cabin in the Alleghenies (where she loves to show off her "Identify that Critter Track" skills.) She has 115 books in print. Loree loves to hear from readers and answers every letter, personally. Visit her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and at www.loreelough.com

ABOUT CERELLA: Cerella Sechrist lives in York, Pennsylvania with two precocious pugs, Darcy and Charlotte, named after Jane Austen literary characters. Inspired by her childhood love of stories, she was ten years old when she decided she wanted to become an author. These days, Cerella divides her time between her working in the office of her family's construction business and as a barista to support her reading habit and coffee addiction. She's been known to post too many photos of pugs on Instagram and Pinterest. You can see for yourself by finding her online at www.cerellasechrist.com.




Thursday, December 7, 2017

Holiday Greetings from Tara Randel and Karen Rock



In this month of cheer and joyous expectation, Karen and I would like to wish each and every one of you a very happy holiday season.  It’s time to put up the tree, decorate the house, string the lights and wrap the presents. Goodness, but December is a busy month. 

To thank all of you for being so supportive of our books, we’re having a Christmas giveaway. Two winners will receive one copy of either The Bridal Bouquet or Christmas at Cade Ranch (Rocky Mountain Cowboy Book One) plus a pair of festive socks. Just a little something from us to you.






In the comments, leave us a picture or story about your most treasured Christmas ornament. We love hearing from you and your comments always put smiles on our faces. We’ll contact the winners on Saturday. 

Karen and I are also posting our favorite ornaments.




For Karen, these picture ornaments of her sweet pups, Lizzy and Little Bit, are her favorites. The ornaments are so special to Karen  because her daughter had them made and gifted them to her after Lizzy and Little Bit passed away a couple of years ago. Having them on the tree means they’re still a part of her family at Christmas and will never be forgotten.


My favorite ornament is this Precious Moments couple, representing our first Christmas together after my husband and I were married. It’s been 31 years and he’s still the one I love to open presents with on Christmas morning.


And to get you excited for the new year, Karen and I are thrilled to announce our January 2018 releases, His One and Only Bride and Falling for a Cowboy (Rocky Mountain Cowboys Book Two). 








Again, we love hearing from you. Enjoy the holidays and here’s to a bright, shiny New Year!

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Tara Randel is an award-winning, USA Today bestselling author of fifteen novels. Family values, a bit of mystery and, of course, love and romance, are her favorite themes, because she believes love is the greatest gift of all. Look for her next Harlequin Heartwarming romance, HIS ONE AND ONLY BRIDE, available January 2018 and her Christmas Town novella in the holiday collection, HEARTWARMING HOLIDAY WISHES, available now.  Visit Tara at www.tararandel.com. Like her on Facebook at Tara Randel Books